You're looking at the beginnings of a full-custom '90 Nissan Hardbody. Everything in the rendering was derived from "Stay-C" Whitaker's own ideas. She owns the truck, and she's not letting anyone tell her what to do with it. Though she's known for being the girlfriend of show promoter Eddy Cebreco, she's calling the shots on this project and even doing her part in its construction.
Though this is the first fully airbagged truck she has owned, Stay-C is no stranger to customs. Her first memory of seeing show vehicles was with her parents when she was about 6 years old. They took her to large indoor auto shows that showcased high-profile vehicles. Stay-C's enthusiasm never waned, and she eventually got a custom vehicle of her own. From there, she picked up some skills, including the ability to MIG-weld. When it came time to delete a bodyline from her Honda Civic, Stay-C powered up the welder and filled in the sheetmetal herself.
During the time she owned the Civic, Stay-C was living in Florida and went to Blood Drag for her first time. There she saw a Nissan Hardbody built by Jimmy, the owner of Scrape-n-Customs. The '87 truck was fully done with an '00 Frontier front clip and a 4Runner rear bumper. The moment she first saw that truck, she was inspired and wanted a Hardbody of her own.
Years later, Stay-C lucked out by hearing about a truck that was practically being given away. Former associate editor of Mini Truckin' magazine, Chad Lucas, had a Nissan Hardbody in his collection he was trying to get rid of. Stay-C was more than happy to relieve Chad of the truck, and she made out like a bandit: $500 for the title. The truck was in California, but since Stay-C's boyfriend Eddy had recently moved to the West Coast for business, she planned on joining him and the truck.
Stay-C started by coming up with a theme and overall plans for modifications on the vehicle. She figured a set of 20- and 22-inch wheels would fit nicely with a body drop. For the exterior, Stay-C wanted to shave just about everything and go with a two-tone of bright pink and cream. The colors would be broken up with a silver stripe and few stars along the line. The inspiration for the stars and the project's name, "Star Struk," came from the stars she has tattooed on her arms.
With the build conceptualized, Stay-C had R.J. Silva of Eye Kandy Designs make a digital rendering. She was then able to show people what was needed and how the truck was to turn out. From there, she was able to pick up some sponsored parts like air fittings and valves from Mac's Spring, wheels from bonspeed, batteries from Kinetik, compressors from Air-Zenith, tires from Hankook, and airbags from Slam Specialties.
With the parts all lined up, Stay-C needed to find a shop to help her get the fabrication done. She heard good things about Terry Elms of Draggers Inc., and after a few phone conversations with him she was convinced of his skills. The next step was to drop off the truck at his shop in Fresno and disassemble it. With all the measurements taken, Terry started making the frame out of several pieces of mandrel-bent 2x4-inch tube steel.
For the rear, Terry made a triangulated four-link and attached it to a rearend from an '84-'88 Toyota pickup. This rearend was chosen because it converts the rear to five lugs and is short enough to fit big wheels between the bedside without narrowing it. Then, Terry bent round tubing to brace the frame and create a reservoir for the air system with the two tanks that are plumbed in. For now, that's as far as they have gotten; the front suspension is next. Terry plans on modifying the factory front clip of the frame and making new control arms. The arms will be attached to Chassis Tech drop spindles, and Toyota hubs will be attached to convert the fronts to five lugs as well.
Just because Stay-C needed the assistance of Terry, don't assume that she didn't get dirty. She got right in and helped grind the entire rearend, and also welded on it herself. In doing so, she learned how to TIG-weld in a relatively short amount of time. Though she can't do everything on this truck by herself, she is more than willing to help out and do her part to get it done. That being said, we're confident that Stay-C will get her Hardbody done well and in a timely manner.